Featured Friday - Bob Tyson

August 18, 2016
Skydive Arizona is a big drop zone with many extraordinary people from local to visiting jumpers, staff, pilots, instructors, ground crew, maintenance, manifest to teams, event organizers and load organizers!!! The Featured Friday series is aimed at getting to know the people that make Skydive Arizona work and rock

Today, we meet a guy who will jump in longsleeve t-shirts and gloves all summer long. He's usually found at the school, Adventures in Skydiving, unless he's tell jokes in manifest. He's an instructor full of humor that loves to teach. Meet, Bob Tyson!


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What/who inspired you to make your first jump and why?
A family member, Tim Weigle, had been jumping for a few years and it sounded like fun.
 
I made my first static line jump on a Sunday.  Even though I had a malfunction and landed under a round reserve on that first jump, I was instantly hooked and was back at the DZ on Wednesday.

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Where & when did you learn and what kind of student were you?
I started jumping June 7, 1992 at Skydive Rick’s, a great C-206 DZ located in Petersburg, Ohio.  
 
I would say I was a really good student.  Some might even say exceptional. However, you should probably confirm that with DZO’s Rick and Kay.  ;)
 
Who were your mentors and idols as you learned, and why?
I have to say that Rick and Kay Kuhns were and are huge influences in my skydiving career, even still to this day. No matter how busy they are, with the crazy schedule of being DZO’s, they will always find time to help you become the best you can be.  
 
Also, our friend Mike “Grumpy” Furno has been one of the biggest mentors when it comes to being a professional in the sport.  He is always someone I can talk to about being a great instructor.
 
What inspired you to become an instructor, where did you do your Instructional Course, and what was it like doing your first instructional jumps?
 Watching Rick, Kay, and the instructors at Rick’s passing on their knowledge and passion of the sport to new students, definitely made me want to do the same.
 
As soon as I had enough jumps, in 1994, I received my JM Rating.  In 1996 I received my SL-I Rating and then in 1999 I got my Coach/TAN-I rating (all at Tim and Sherry Butchers’ drop zone, Aerohio). It wasn’t until 2014 did I get my AFF-I from Tom Deacon right here at Skydive AZ.
 
Honestly, I don’t remember my very first instructor jump(s) but, I’m sure they were a lot of fun.

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As an instructor you are current working with newbies and seeing the new challenges instructor’s face. What is the biggest challenge you face how do you adapt?
 Each skydive has different challenges.  That is what skydiving such a great sport.  Every student is going to be different, physically and mentally, so you have to be ready for anything.  
 
Keeping a student relaxed and getting them know they are going to have a safe, successful, and fun skydive is half the battle.
  
What is your advice to those wanting to become instructors?
Before you go down the road of becoming an Instructor, make sure you truly love working with students.  Being and instructor means you are going to be asked a lot of questions and students will be depending on you for information before, during and after jumping.  
The biggest thing is, enjoy the fact that you are jumping out of planes for a living.  If you can’t have fun at what you do, what’s the point?
 
After more than two decades of working with students, it still makes me happy to see students smiling in the air.  After they land, they jump up and down laughing and screaming with excitement.  Being able to share a moment like that, to me, that is the reason for being a teacher of this sport.
 
Any advice for newbies?
Always, always, always, keep learning.  Ask as many questions as you can.  Seek out all the information possible from those that are knowledgeable in the sport.
 
There is such a huge pool of talent and information here at SDAZ to choose from Aside from Adventures in Skydiving there are all the amazing Organizers, the tunnel instructors at SkyVenture Arizona, and Niklas and Brianne at Axis Flight School.  We are all here to help students, newbies and experienced jumpers become the best skydiver they can be.
 
Most importantly Newbies, be safe and ALWAYS HAVE FUN!

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What is your favorite moment(s) as an instructor?
When my wife Maggie received her A-License.  Taking my brother Tom and nephew Mike on tandems were a lot of fun.  I was also able to take Maggie’s grandfather Dusty on a tandem for his 78th birthday. (no pressure there)  :)  

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I had the honor of taking Jim “Pee Wee” Martin on a tandem about six years ago at Skydive Ohio.  He is a WWII vet that was in the first wave of paratroopers into Normandy.  Maggie was on the jump doing video to capture the moment.  Taking an American hero and a national treasure like Mr. Martin and being able to share it with my wife is really high up there on the list.

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Anything else you’d like to add?
Add?  Well, I’m not that good at math but I’ll give it a try. 
7+4 = 74   Is that right Mr. Swindle?

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